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The Ultimate Bucket List for Fresh Graduates

The Ultimate Bucket List for Fresh Graduates

Most of us has attempted to complete some form of student bucket list. Tasks from Pub Golf, pulling all-nighters in the library and going out in our PJs, all of which needed achieving before the final semester was through.

So, how about a bucket list for graduates? A guide of things that you need to do to get the most out of life and keep on top of your new responsibilities.

Here it goes — your Graduate Bucket List:

Keep an open mind when it comes to your career

1. Be prepared to zig zag through your career

Leaving a role that brings you no joy does not have to be a negative experience; it can teach you a lot about what you want in your career. Graduate Verity Prentice from Hallmark Care Homes explains how her journalism degree didn’t take her where she’d expected:

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“Working at a publishing house selling advertising space was hard work, but I learnt a lot about marketing and how to sell to the most difficult clients over the phone. I then got a job working in recruitment, before I realised how much I missed journalism and that if I combined my sales skills and journalism skills I could become very good at PR.”

2. Ditch the plan

Life does not go according to plan and lack of experience will hold you back when it comes to your career. While you may hope to get straight into a high level job, it’s important to be realistic about your experience and how this relates to career opportunities.

“I had no marketing experience other than my degree. I ideally wanted a graduate role but my first job was as a digital marketing assistant.”

– Marketing graduate Patrick Robinson, Linx Printing Technologies

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Patrick recognised he didn’t have enough experience to get on a graduate scheme, so he initially took an assistant level role. If this sounds like you then ditch the pride and recognise that you need the experience of an entry level job before you can set your sights on a more senior role.

Start thinking about your financial future

3. Just because you have more money doesn’t mean you should spend it

Student living was tough. But the fact is, you’ll soon find life as a graduate tough, too! Gone are the perks of student discounts, cheap rent, and splitting bills with numerous housemates. Yes, you’ve got more money now that you’re earning, but expenses are higher too. Resist elaborate spending where possible — you’re not a millionaire yet!

4. Learn to live below your means and save at least 10% of your income

Saving money may not be the first thing on your mind upon leaving university, but tucking away 10% of your income into a savings account every month will really pay off.

Graduate incomes and expenditures can initially be very erratic. Live below your means where possible and you will have funds available when you need them, allowing you to avoid costly borrowing.

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5. Learn to save raises, not spend them

As you zig-zag your way up the career ladder, your salary will increase. We’re not saying to sit in the cold rather than put your heating on just to save some pennies, but don’t splurge on luxuries either. Remember everything you learnt about budgeting as a student. Your financial future depends on you being disciplined.

Time is more valuable than money

6. Don’t waste your free time

Gone are the days of mindlessly watching Netflix instead of attending lectures. Trade in time spent watching TV, and use it to build your life experiences. This could include volunteering for a charity — not just to enhance your CV, but for the feel good factor!

Spend time with friends and family; your free time is at a premium when you work 40+ hour weeks, and relationships are equally as precious. Time is more valuable than money, so call your mother, visit your grandparents, and feel warm and fuzzy inside.

7. Learn new skills

The end of university is by no means the end of your educational journey. Take courses, learn new skills, or try out a sport and progress yourself; your life will feel fuller for it. You could even learn a new language — but avoid these common mistakes!

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8. Make your dreams come true

Never take a gap year? It’s not too late to travel the world. If you’re a travel bug, consider saving up for that big trip instead of spending your disposable income on big nights out, DVDs and computer games.

Birds of a feather flock together

9. Value some relationships

Relationships are important, but not with people who always bring you down. Staying in contact with people you used to know — be it from school, university or past jobs should be a good thing. But times change and if those people are not on the same page as you anymore, and spending time with them negatively impacts your life then cut them off now! Troublesome relationships can drag you down and hold you back.

10. Spend more time with your successful, ambitious friends

Their energy, ideas and enthusiasm can really rub off on you. Be sure not to try and compete with them; instead, allow their ambitions and experiences to help drive your own career forward.

Reunions can be a great way of seeing where course mates took their careers. They’re also an ideal time to network, make contacts and connections.

So have at it, graduates. Let the next stage of life begin!

Featured photo credit: Danka & Peter via magdeleine.co via magdeleine.co

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

Have you ever thought of yourself as a problem solver? I’m guessing not. But in reality, we are constantly solving problems. And the better our problem solving skills are, the easier our lives are.

Problems arise in many shapes and forms. They can be mundane, everyday problems, or larger more complex problems:

What to have for dinner tonight?

Which route to take to work?

How to fix a project that’s running behind schedule?

How to change from an uninspiring job to a career you’re really passionate about?

Every day, you’ll be faced with at least one problem to solve. But it gets easier when you realize that problems are simply choices. There’s nothing ‘scary’ about them other than having to make a decision.

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No matter what job you’re in, where you live, who your partner is, how many friends you have, you will be judged on your ability to solve problems. Because problems equal hassles for everyone concerned. And people don’t like hassle. So the more problems you can solve, the less hassle all-round, the happier people are with you. Everyone wins.

Why Are Problem Solving Skills Important?

Problem is something hard to understand or accomplish or deal with. It can be a task, a situation, or even a person. Problem solving involves methods and skills to find the best solutions to problems.

Problem solving is important because we all have decisions to make, and questions to answer in our lives. Amazing people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., are all great problems solvers. Good parents, teachers, doctors and waiters all have to be good at solving different sort of problems as well.

Problem solving skills are for our everyday lives.

How to Enhance Problem Solving Skills

Most people believe that you have to be very intelligent in order to be a good problem solver, but that’s not true.

You don’t have to be super smart to be a problem solver, you just need practice.

When you understand the different steps to solve a problem, you’ll be able to come up with great solutions.

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1. Focus on the Solution, Not the Problem

Neuroscientists have proven that your brain cannot find solutions if you focus on the problem.[1] This is because when you focus on the problem, you’re effectively feeding ‘negativity,’ which in turn activates negative emotions in the brain. These emotions block potential solutions.

I’m not saying you should ‘ignore the problem,’ instead, try to remain calm. It helps to first, acknowledge the problem; and then, move your focus to a solution-oriented mindset where you keep fixed on what the ‘answer’ could be, rather than lingering on ‘what went wrong’ and ‘who’s fault it is’.

2. Adapt 5 Whys to Clearly Define the Problem

5 Whys is a problem solving framework to help you get to the root of a problem.

By repeatedly asking the question “why” on a problem, you can dig into the root cause of a problem, and that’s how you can find the best solution to tackle the root problem once and for all. And it can go deeper than just asking why for five times.

For example:

If the problem is “always late to work”…

  • Why am I late to work?
    I always click the snooze button and just want to go on sleeping.
  • Why do I want to go on sleeping?
    I feel so tired in the morning.
  • Why do I feel tired in the morning?
    I slept late the night before, that’s why.
  • Why did I sleep late?
    I wasn’t sleepy after drinking coffee, and I just kept scrolling my Facebook feed and somehow I couldn’t stop.
  • Why did I drink coffee?
    Because I was too sleepy at work in the afternoon, not having enough sleep the night before.

So there you see, if you didn’t try to dig out the root of the problem, you may just set a few more alarms and have it beep every five minutes in the morning. But in fact, the problem you need to solve is to quit Facebook surfing endlessly at night so you’ll feel more energetic in the day time, and you won’t even need coffee.

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3. Simplify Things

As human beings, we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be! Try simplifying your problem by generalizing it.

Remove all the details and go back to the basics. Try looking for a really easy, obvious solution – you might be surprised at the results! And we all know that it’s often the simple things that are the most productive.

4. List out as Many Solutions as Possible

Try to come up with ‘ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ – even if they seem ridiculous at first. It’s important you keep an open mind to boost creative thinking, which can trigger potential solutions.

Coming from 10 years in the corporate advertising industry, it is drummed into you that ‘No idea is a bad idea’ and this aids creative thinking in brainstorms and other problem-solving techniques.

Whatever you do, do not ridicule yourself for coming up with ‘stupid solutions’ as it’s often the crazy ideas that trigger other more viable solutions.

5. Think Laterally

Change the ‘direction’ of your thoughts by thinking laterally. Pay attention to the saying,

‘You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging it deeper.”

Try to change your approach and look at things in a new way. You can try flipping your objective around and looking for a solution that is the polar opposite!

Even if it feels silly, a fresh and unique approach usually stimulates a fresh solution.

6. Use Language That Creates Possibility

Lead your thinking with phrases like ‘what if…’ and ‘imagine if…’ These terms open up our brains to think creatively and encourage solutions.

Avoid closed, negative language such as ‘I don’t think…’ or ‘But this is not right…’.

The Bottom Line

There’s nothing scary about a problem when you start to adapt my advice.

Try not to view problems as ‘scary’ things! If you think about what a problem really is, it’s really just feedback on your current situation.

Every problem is telling you that something is not currently working and that you need to find a new way around it.

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So try to approach problems neutrally – without any judgment. Practice focusing on defining a problem, keep calm and not to make things too complicated.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Planet of Success: Problem vs Solution Focused Thinking

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